Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Berries

I realize we have lived through the cupcake fad and are on to... what are we even on to right now besides kale and juicing? Churros, maybe. Anywhoo, as I have always been one to zig at a zag- here's my retro ode to 2006 with a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. It's a pretty simple one, using the topping from Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes p(41) on the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes (p33). We had friends over for dinner, and (as per usual) I went a bit over the top with the main course and needed a simpler desert. Boyfriend to the rescue, he actually did the baking on this one, I just made the icing and dressed them up for the party.

The cupcakes have been on here before (in the Boston Cream and with a simple Chocolate Ganache. I have to say, the topping on this iteration really classed them up, though. You need to prepare it just before serving (or the cakes would get soggy). It's a raspberry preserve on top of the cake with some artfully stacked berries (standing on their heads for your entertainment), and the icing drizzled over. All in all, a bit sweet on top, but the cupcakes themselves aren't too sweet so it's a decent balance. A+ #1 and totally toddler-friendly (though she was more concerned with playing with the cat then eating- smart kid.)

Boston Cream Cupcakes

I'm slowly working my way through every single recipe in this book! These were fantastic and were a huge hit with some non vegan friends, which I thought was great since the cream is tofu based. I tried PPK's tip of subbing 1/4 of the flour in a recipe for coconut flour (they said that it makes everything taste like a Twinkie)- which I have to say, it kind of did! I was concerned about these in the batter stage. I used the superfine sugar that the cream calls for in the cupcake batter. I had never heard that the superfine sugar creams with margarine in 1/2 the time. So, I think it was over mixed? What happened is when the liquid was added, the fat would not mix in. It was totally seperated. I should've probably started over with wet ingredients at that point, but since I made a total of 10 recipes yesterday (Easter), I was lazy and just added in the dry ingredients.

They were minorly sunk in, but were fine otherwise, and once filled and ganached- totally fine. There were less sunk in cupcakes in the bunch, but I served the pretty ones to our friends and was left with these potholed ones for the photo.

The cream was surprisingly good, I did add some vanilla to it to counter the tofu taste though. All in all- another fantastic cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!

Silly Easy Salty Peanut Bark

This is so silly easy, it's hardly worth posting, but it's become our go-to snack dessert, so I thought I would put it up anyway. If you like the whole salt/ sweet thing- this is for you. It's kind of like a salty, upscale Mr Goodbar.

1 c roasted, salted peanuts
1.5 c vegan chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)
sea salt

Line a 9x12 pan with wax paper. Melt chips in a double broiler and whisk until smooth. Spread peanuts out over bottom of pan on wax paper. Spoon melted chocolate over the peanuts, smoothing out with a spatula and ensuring that all nuts are covered. Grind or sprinkle sea salt liberally over the smoothed out bark (depending on your taste- but it takes a nice smattering to have it come through). Freeze or refrigerate (depending on how anxious you are to eat) until the bark is completely hardened. Break up bark into bite or bar sized bits and eat that stuff up!

THE Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe

I really need a new apartment with better lighting.

Anyway, these are from the book Vegan Diner and are IT. THE Chocolate Chip cookie recipe!!! I have tried quite a few veganized versions of chocolate chip cookies, but these. are. the ones.

They stay a bit chewy, even after cooling, but are so flavorful and amazingly classic-everything-you-remember-in-a-cookie amazing that we each ate about 4 the night that I made them. Which... may not be the best cookie to have in the house!

Banana Muffins

These are great! We had some overripe nanas, and I thought I'd explore a new recipe vs my go-to Banana Bread one. It's a good recipe, but I don't want to be caught in a banana shaped rut.

These were great- totally moist with a really great flavor. I would cut down on the baking time, though (depending on your oven)- I baked for the recommended time and they were a bit overdone on the bottom (you may be able to see the color difference between the bottom and the top on the photo). Even with that, though, they weren't dried out or anything- which is saying something (that they're good!)

You can get the recipe HERE

Peanut Butter Cups

If only the vegan chefs of the world could nail the taste of dairy cheese down the way that this recipe nails down peanut butter cups- my world would be perfect. These. Are. Amazing. And I'm saying that even after f-ing up the recipe a bit. These are the Peanut Butter cups from the book "The Kind Diet", which, truth be told- I don't own. I found this online and now will be needing to get to a bookstore to pick up the book.

These taste like an alternate universe Reese's cup where you're convinced that you're not eating crap but the flavor is the same (dialed to 11). I did goof while making them, and they have far too loose and gooey of a consistency- but that may be my fault. I made about 5 recipes last night including this, so I was a little scattered. You're supposed to melt the margarine and then add the peanut butter, graham crackers and sugar. I had them all in together without pre-melting the margarine. But- we threw them in the freezer and even overnight, they weren't stiff and hard, but firm (as you see here) and delicious.

I used sweetened peanut butter b/c that's what we had and Ghiradelli chips b/c they're awesome. Also, I made used a mini muffin pan and mini liners- these would be too much in a full size one. Truly- this one is amazing, I highly recommend it!!! You can find the recipe HERE